Mechanisms for Electron Uptake by Methanosarcina acetivorans during Direct Interspecies Electron Transfer.

TitleMechanisms for Electron Uptake by Methanosarcina acetivorans during Direct Interspecies Electron Transfer.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsHolmes DE, Zhou J, Ueki T, Woodard T, Lovley DR
Date Published2021 Oct 26
KeywordsArchaeal Proteins, Electron Transport, Electrons, Methane, Methanosarcina, Transcriptome

Direct interspecies electron transfer (DIET) between bacteria and methanogenic archaea appears to be an important syntrophy in both natural and engineered methanogenic environments. However, the electrical connections on the outer surface of methanogens and the subsequent processing of electrons for carbon dioxide reduction to methane are poorly understood. Here, we report that the genetically tractable methanogen Methanosarcina acetivorans can grow via DIET in coculture with Geobacter metallireducens serving as the electron-donating partner. Comparison of gene expression patterns in grown in coculture versus pure-culture growth on acetate revealed that transcripts for the outer-surface multiheme type cytochrome MmcA were higher during DIET-based growth. Deletion of inhibited DIET. The high aromatic amino acid content of archaellins suggests that they might assemble into electrically conductive archaella. A mutant that could not express archaella was deficient in DIET. However, this mutant grew in DIET-based coculture as well as the archaellum-expressing parental strain in the presence of granular activated carbon, which was previously shown to serve as a substitute for electrically conductive pili as a conduit for long-range interspecies electron transfer in other DIET-based cocultures. Transcriptomic data suggesting that the membrane-bound Rnf, Fpo, and HdrED complexes also play a role in DIET were incorporated into a charge-balanced model illustrating how electrons entering the cell through MmcA can yield energy to support growth from carbon dioxide reduction. The results are the first genetics-based functional demonstration of likely outer-surface electrical contacts for DIET in a methanogen. The conversion of organic matter to methane plays an important role in the global carbon cycle and is an effective strategy for converting wastes to a useful biofuel. The reduction of carbon dioxide to methane accounts for approximately a third of the methane produced in anaerobic soils and sediments as well as waste digesters. Potential electron donors for carbon dioxide reduction are H or electrons derived from direct interspecies electron transfer (DIET) between bacteria and methanogens. Elucidating the relative importance of these electron donors has been difficult due to a lack of information on the electrical connections on the outer surfaces of methanogens and how they process the electrons received from DIET. Transcriptomic patterns and gene deletion phenotypes reported here provide insight into how a group of organisms that play an important role in methane production in soils and sediments participate in DIET.

Alternate JournalmBio
PubMed ID34607451
PubMed Central IDPMC8546582